How to prevent colon cancer with regular screenings
Learning how to prevent colon cancer or colorectal cancer is essential. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, yet it is preventable. A colonoscopy is the standard screening procedure for adults who are 45 years or older.
Regular screening prevents colon cancer
Because colon cancer is slow-growing, it takes on average 10-15 years for polyps or small growths in the colon to develop into colon cancer. There are diet and lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk, including:
- Eating a diet low in animal fats and high in fruits vegetables and fiber,
- Increasing your physical activity,
- Lowering or limiting your alcohol consumption,
- Making sure you're getting enough vitamin D, and
- Avoiding tobacco.
The most effective way to lower your risk of colon cancer is to get screened routinely, beginning at the age of 45. Recommended screenings include stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT colonography.
Take the worry out of colonoscopy prep
Many people worry about the colonoscopy test because it involves preparations that can be unpleasant or also possibly worry about anesthesia. Preparation includes drinking a liquid that clears your bowels so your colon is empty for the procedure. It sounds unpleasant, but as Harvard Medical School's Family Health Guide says, "It's worth the hassle." They offer some great tips for prep, including dialing back your diet to clear liquids the day before and keeping a variety of appealing clear liquids on hand such as soft drinks and ice pops.
A colon cancer fact sheet put out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes if everyone over 49 had their regular recommended screenings, colorectal cancer deaths would decrease by 60 percent. Prevent colon cancer and schedule your colonoscopy today.